August 26, 2007

French Ligue 1, 2004-05 through 2007-08 seasons.

Filed under: France,Hand Drawn Maps — admin @ 1:57 pm


This map was drawn in the summer of 2004. 

It’s been updated by including the six clubs who have also been in the league since then.

Three clubs were relegated, then promoted again, in this 3-year period:  FC Metz,  RC Strasbourg, and SM Caen. 

In England, these types of teams are called yo-yo clubs.  West Bromwich Albion and Sunderland AFC are classic   examples of this; a few years ago, Bolton Wanderers and Manchester City FC also had this unwanted distinction.

I did a search, and it looks like the French also use the term…albeit as “yoyo.”

August 22, 2007

English Football League 2006-2007

Filed under: Hand Drawn Maps — admin @ 12:39 pm

english_football_league_attendances_and_league_history.gif  english_football_league_attendances_and_league_history2.gif46england_3.gif 

This map shows the location of all 92 teams in the English Football League, in the 2006-2007 season.  Logos of the teams in the top two divisions, plus a few larger teams in the 3rd division, are shown. The size of each team’s logo is in proportion to it’s average attendance.  A two-page chart showing teams’ attendances, and league history, is also included.  [To view this, click on the 2 gifs at the top]

The English Football League is split into 4 divisions.  The top division is called The Premier League.  It is considered, along with Spain’s La Liga, and the Italian Serie A, the best soccer league in the world.

Each season, the top 3 teams are promoted from the 2nd division to the Premier League.  Also, the bottom 3 teams are relegated from the Premier League to the 2nd division.

This promotion/relegation system is in place in all 4 divisions, and is crucial to the highly competitive nature of  English Football.  Big clubs cannot sit on their laurels, or they’ll find themselves sent down.  Recent examples of this are Leeds United FC and Nottingham Forest FC.  Both are very big clubs… ex-champions, in fact.  (Leeds in 1992, Nottingham in 1978.)  But through profligate spending, ill-advised moves, and ultimately,  poor play,  both are currently stuck in the 3rd division. 

On the other hand, plucky “minnows” (small clubs) like Colchester United FC and Scunthorpe United FC have punched above their weight, and now find themselves in the 2nd division.  This in spite of the fact that both teams play in small towns, and in stadiums with capacities of less than 9,500.  This in a division where half the clubs have average attendances above 20,000.

The whole relegation/promotion system dates back to the late 1800′s, during the earliest days of the League.  It has been adopted by most every soccer league in the world, with the notable exception of  leagues in the USA.  It is ironic that America, land of free-market capitalism,  has pro sports leagues that behave like communist states.

In America, once a team joins a pro sports league, it can  stay there no matter how continuously poor it’s performance is.  If the team is making a decent profit, but not performing well, what reason does management have for trying to improve ?  That’s expensive, and with no guarantee of success. They can sit back and be mediocre, making their safe profit.  This smacks of socialism in it’s most negative sense, where a person need not actually strive for competence, because he has no threat of being sacked. 

Meanwhile, Europe, land of the Social Democratic State, has sports leagues that are so competitive that they resemble a highly Darwinian form of cut-throat capitalism.

August 19, 2007

NHL, established 1917

nhl_4legend.gifnhl_5legend.gif                                nhl_2chop.gif

The National Hockey Association was the precursor to the NHL.  The NHA was formed in 1910.  In early 1917, one of the teams in the league had to withdraw: The Toronto 228th Battalion.  As strange as it must seem, a Canadian Army Regiment had a team in a pro hockey league.   When the 228th Battalion was called up to serve in Europe (in  World War I), the league reformed as the NHL, without the 228th Batallion, and without the Toronto Blueshirts, whose owner was a disruptive force.

The NHL operated with just 3 teams its first two seasons: the Montreal Canadiens, the Ottawa Senators, and the Toronto Arenas. 

The Montreal Wanderers were forced to fold after their arena burnt down in early 1918.  The Quebec Bulldogs were forced to suspend operations for two seasons.  Quebec re-entered the league in 1919, but moved to Hamilton, Ontario in 1920. 

The Toronto club changed its name to the St. Patricks in 1919, and to the Toronto Maple Leafs in Feb. 1927. 

In 1924, two new clubs joined: the Montreal Maroons and the Boston Bruins.  The Maroons replaced the Wanderers as the English-speaking fans’ team in Montreal.  (The Canadiens being the French-speaking fans’ team.)  The Boston club was the first American team in the NHL.

During the playoffs in the 1924-1925 season, Hamilton players went on strike for non-payment of post-season wages.  The league disbanded the team, and the next season sent the franchise to New York, as the Americans.  Also that season, the Pittsburgh Pirates were formed.

In 1926, the New York Rangers were formed.  Also, two teams from the defunct Western Hockey League were re-born as NHL teams…the Victoria (British Columbia) Cougars became the Detroit Cougars (now known as the Red Wings), and the Portland Rosebuds became the Chicago Black Hawks.  However, the NHL does not recognize these two moves as franchise shifts, even though most players from each WHL team ended up on the two new NHL teams.  The NHL now had 10 teams.

However, the league’s progress was impeded by the Great Depression.  The first casualty was the Pittsburgh franchise, which moved to Philadelphia in 1930, but folded in 1931.  Ottawa suspended operations for the 1931-1932 season, and moved to St. Louis, Missouri in 1934, only to fold in 1935.  In 1938, the Maroons folded.  In 1942, the NY Americans folded.

To see a graphic representation of the franchise shifts from 1917-1942, scroll up to the box on the top, left, and CLICK.

The period from 1942 to 1967 saw no franchise shifts, with 6 stable teams in the NHL: the Montreal Canadiens, the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Boston Bruins, the New York Rangers, the Detroit Red Wings, and the Chicago Blackhawks.  These teams are known, somewhat misleadingly, as “The Original Six.”  Misleading because 4 of the 6 were not original.

In the fall of 1967, the NHL entered it’s Modern Era, as it expanded from 6 to 12 teams.  To see the 12 teams, scroll to the box on the top, center, and CLICK.

In it’s early days (1917-1926), the winner of the NHL did not automatically win the Stanley Cup.  

Originally (1893-1915),  the Stanley Cup was operated on a challenge basis, whereby a team, approved by the Stanley Cup Board of Trustees, would challenge the Cup-holder to a competition.  It was similar to how pro boxing title matches are organized.

In 1915, an agreement between the NHA and the Pacific Coast Hockey Association was made: their respective champions would meet to play for the Stanley Cup. This format (best in East vs. best in West)  carried on when the NHL was formed in 1917, and when another  league was formed in western Canada.   By 1926, both these western leagues had folded, and the Stanley Cup became the sole property of the NHL.

There were three non-NHL teams during this era to win the Stanley Cup – the Vancouver Millionaires (1915), the Seattle Metropolitans (1917), and the Victoria Cougars (1925).

NFL 1920 to 1960

Filed under: Hand Drawn Maps,NFL/ Gridiron Football,Retro maps — admin @ 11:50 am



This map shows the prominent teams of the period from 1920 to 1960. Every team that existed for at least 4 NFL seasons in the 1920-60 time period is shown (as well as franchise shifts).

The American Professional Football Association was formed in 1920, in Canton, Ohio.  The APFA changed its name to the National Football League in 1922.  The early days of the NFL were marked by franchise instability and public indifference. College football was far more popular, and club finances were further eroded by the onset of the Depression.  Many teams came and went.  In fact, there wasn’t a balanced schedule until 1936.  The roster of defunct teams would startle the average NFL fan of today.  Very few fans who cozy up to their TV each autumn Sunday to watch pro football know that in the early 1930′s, New York City boasted three NFL teams: the New York Football Giants, the Brooklyn Football Dodgers, and the Staten Island Stapletons.  Or that the roster of teams that won the Title include the Frankford Yellow Jackets, in 1926, and the Providence Steamroller, in 1928.  Or that the Rams, now in St. Louis after several decades in Los Angeles, actually began as the Cleveland Rams. 

The league soldiered on, though, and by the end of World War II, it was poised for its future success. The post-war era also saw the end of leather helmets, and a more emphasized passing game. By the late 1950′s, television coverage began turning the NFL into the sports entertainment juggernaut it is today.

The evolution of the football helmet is depicted at the top of the map.

To see a list of defunct NFL teams that played for at least 4 seasons, click on the gif at the top of this posting.


Powered by WordPress